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Floquet de Neu


Floquet de Neu (c. 1964 - November 24, 2003) was an extremely rare albino gorilla, the most popular resident of the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

He was originally named Nfumu Ngi (Fang, "white gorilla"), then later on nicknamed Snowflake by National Geographic magazine, and then translated as Copito de Nieve (Spanish) and Floquet de Neu (Catalan).

Snowflake was a Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). The only albino gorilla known, he was captured outside Nko , Rio Muni (now Equatorial Guinea) on October 1, 1966, by Catalan primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi.

He lived at the Barcelona Zoo in the Parc de la Ciutadella. He was known worldwide, mentioned in tourist guides and put on postcards, becoming a mascot for the city. He became a main character in the novel Meṃries d'en Floquet de Neu (Snowflake's Memories), by the Catalan writer Toni Sala. Sabater Pi too dedicated a book to the gorilla, under the title Floquet per sempre (Snowflake Forever).

Snowflake's fame also helped to promote awareness of the endangered gorilla. "If we do nothing there will be no more gorillas in 30 years," Sabater Pi said, at the presentation of his book.

During his life at the zoo, he fathered 22 offspring, none albino, with three females, and lived to see his grandchildren. His last son, Urko, died in August 2003.

He was thought to be between 38 and 40 years old; the average lifespan of a wild gorilla is 25. He had suffered since 2001 from an unusual form of skin cancer, possibly relating to his albinism, and it was announced in September 2003 that he was dying. Thousands visited the zoo to say goodbye before he was finally euthanized.

A memorial fund for bursaries into primatology was started in Floquet de Neu's name.

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Last updated: 08-18-2005 19:44:36
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13